Television Stations Play Fundamental Role in Anti-Chávez Coup
Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2002
CNN broadcasts contradictory versions throughout the day, The anchors and the images only heighten the confusion
With the power of TV images and in the midst of the confusion during the protests hitting Venezuela Thursday, the large international news media hastened the fall of Hugo Chávez' government. First came the media coup in this Andean nation, after which – again and again on the commercial chain Globovisión - the story he had resigned.
CNN en Espańol [a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner] played a key role throughout the long day yesterday. It allocated more than three hours solid to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez' message, but it contrasted what Chávez had to say with images of the protests on the streets neighboring the Miraflores Palace. And its correspondents and anchors endorsed the versions of the events put out by military opposed to Chávez.
Without interruption, CNN's coverage during the day about what was happening in Venezuela tilted toward conflict, Chávez' "lack of control," and the polemical closing of the commercial TV networks Telever and Venevisión, as well as the commercial radio stations in Caracas. On Venezuela's government network, Chávez criticized the owners of the commercial media, saying they had "malign intent" against the government. He explained that the closing of the commercial media was in accordance with Article 192 of the Telecommunications Law, with grants the president the power to control the signal.
While it transmitted a split-screen image of the Chávez talk – half of the screen showed Chávez, the other half scenes of the street protests – CNN summarized Chávez' message as: "the principal problem is the communications media," "the media have been irresponsible," "the owners of the networks have incited the violence." MORE